This past Monday I celebrated my 35th birthday here in Spain. Somewhat unexpectedly, it turned out to be a fantastic day. It was not the celebrations of turning 34 on Long Island last year with my best gals, dancing the night away, however, it was still a fantastic day celebrated with new friends in a new city!
However, my birthday wasn’t actually just a day, but a weekend… of course. If I’m going to celebrate, go big or go home, right? Perhaps Friday didn’t end so well with my pickpocketer experience, however the evening itself (despite the back pain) was fabulous. A night out at Hard Rock with my 3 best boys, no arguments, no whining, just a great time! And Josh was well behaved too 🙂 And Liam topped it off by basically reinforcing to us that he is in fact potty trained – our first meal out with him in underwear and he stayed dry the whole night! That alone would have made my birthday fantastic – no more diapers!!!
Saturday we hit the local Toys R Us which takes us about 40 mins to get to. Yet it’s within the city limits. Ah city living! Our goal? To buy a swimming pool. Now keep in mind our patio is 600 square ft, so it’s not huge. However, the humidity in Barcelona is unbelievable and the beaches are jam packed. I have never let having 2 kids prevent me from doing things I want to do with them, however, the beach is the one thing I will not do alone with them – it’s just too hard to keep an eye on both of them amongst crowds of people and the sea. So in order to beat the heat this summer, it was decided that we needed a pool. Nothing fancy and for 25 euros we are now the proud owners of an 8′ x 2′ pool that we have set up on wood panels (on top of which we put some super fancy astroturf – we Marcus’ know how to style things up!). The kids could not be more excited. Unfortunately other than Saturday, they haven’t had much time in it due to lots of rain this week. But the summer has only just begun and I have no doubt they will be using it daily!
Saturday late afternoon we had Alefiya come to watch the boys. Have I mentioned how much we adore Alefiya?? The just most amazing sitter – the boys love her and she is great to all of us. Always giving Josh and I tips on places to go and things we would never have figured out ourselves. Helping me to set up appointments for the boys that I would have struggled with on my own. She has become a part of our family, and I would like to think a friend as well, in just these few short months. Anyways, Alefiya came to watch the boys and Josh and I ventured out to celebrate!!
We started at Hard Rock – yes, my favorite. Where else can you find nachos, potato skins and martinis??? Um no where else in this city! At least not as good! So after some yummy potato skins and a few martinis we were off and running to our next destination. Shopping!! Ok, more like window shopping because Josh told me that we couldn’t have bags at our next destination (that he was calling Vegas, yet confirmed to me that we were not going to the local casino – a mystery!). So I took him to my favorite store, Desigual. He’s been dying to get some more European looking clothes so I took him to check it out. And yes, he loves it too. I had him pick some things out and try them on so I could get the sizes (since we’re now talking European sizes, not US sizes) and go back during the week for him. He’s now the very proud owner of several shirts and shorts!!
We took a nice long walk down the Ramblas to Barceloneta beach area and then walked to Villa Olimpica. We even saw another naked man – this one was walking! I missed the picture but have googled him. To see a picture, http://www.odditycentral.com/pics/naked-in-barcelona.html. He was incredibly casual as though it’s normal to be walking the streets naked.
So now to Vegas… hmmm… Vegas. A mystery. I confirmed that we were not in fact going to the casino. We weren’t going for Chinese food (one of our fave restaurants in Vegas is chinese food), and so I’m just stumped. I would never have guessed an ice bar like that at Red Square – our favorite bar in Vegas! So cool! I’ve never been in the ice room at Red Square but Josh has and says that this bar was by far better. The room was made of ice and even the glasses for the drinks were made of ice!!
We attempted to go to dinner at CDLC where Josh claims he’s had the best steak (Kobe of course) since arriving in Barcelona. However, Josh didn’t make a reservation on a Saturday night in June. It wasn’t a pretty moment. And I will admit I was way grumpier about the situation than it warranted. I’m sorry Josh! We ended up at a place in Villa Olimpica that was just ok. However, we turned the night around with some great conversation and then after dinner some gelato. It ended on a very positive note!
On Sunday we attempted to go over to an Irish pub near us that we have yet to patron. We figured it might be a good chance to meet up with some English speaking people, possible some with kids, that live local to us. Unfortunately it didn’t open til 2. And our kids while getting better at being on Spanish time (meaning lunch after 1:30-2), they aren’t that good yet! So we decided to try a pizza place not that far from us that opened at 1. It was FABULOUS! Of all the pizza I’ve tried here in the last 6 months, it’s in my top 2. The unfortunate part is that they are open non kid friendly hours overall – 1 to 4 and then 8:30-midnight. Josh and I have had it 2x since Sunday too! It rained most of Sunday but it was a great day nonetheless. And once again we ended the day at Hard Rock. I know, probably too much Hard Rock in one weekend but I enjoyed every bite!
Monday was my actual big day. I had scheduled my first hair appointment in 6 months. Ladies, you know as well as I do how hard it is to build a relationship with a new stylist. Now try it when you don’t speak the language and you’ll understand why I waited 6 months to set up an appointment. However, it turns out the place I went to was English speaking (hence the name Anthony Llobert, English Hair Salon). It honestly looked more like a barber shop than a hair salon…. most definitely a long way away from my beautiful Keldara Salon & Day Spa. I will admit to being scared and almost didn’t go. I thought about going to one of the nicer looking places that perhaps didn’t speak English but looked much sleeker. I finally took a deep breath and went in. And you know what? I was incredibly pleased with the cut. And on top of that, it was 29 euros. Can’t beat that!! I don’t remember the last time I paid less than $65 for a cut! Ha – one more thing to check off my list!!
I then met up with my friend Gina to head out to lunch with Cristy and Jami. I had such a wonderful time with them at this little off the beaten path restaurant near La Ramblas. I would never have found it and it was a quiet location and the food was delicious. Not to mention the fantastic company of my new friends. And a big thank you to them for the beautiful bouquet of flowers and the bottle of cava! And thank you so much for taking the time to spend with me on my big day!!
The final celebration in my weekend long birthday festivities was dinner out once again with Josh. We went to our favorite Italian restaurant. Unfortunately the 2 people who know us were not working and the guy that took care of us spoke to us in English which initially led us to believe he understood English. Yeah, not so much. Turns out he put in our order for us of rabbit without us actually ordering the rabbit – we were suspicious that he did this because he took our menus away before we felt that we had actually ordered. So instead of being leisurely like we would have normally have been, we kept telling him we were ready to order only to have him keep walking away. Clearly he didn’t understand us. I finally asked for the menu and ordered my fiochetti. He then pointed to Josh and said “and the rabbit for the gentleman”. Ummmm no. While Josh has had rabbit it’s not what he wanted on Monday. So the guy literally ran back to the kitchen and said to stop the rabbit! We felt badly for the mixup but enjoyed our meal nonetheless…sin rabbit!!
I want to thank everyone who helped make my day such a wonderful one. It’s been hard enough being away from family and friends during the rest of the year but to be away for my birthday (and any holidays) is hard. And knowing everyone made such a huge effort to make my day special meant the world to me! Thank you!